privacy

Yahoo plays catchup in the encryption arms race

Yahoo on Monday announced that it will be beefing up encryption efforts across all of the company's products -- just the latest case of giant tech companies trying assuage user concerns in the face of numerous press reports of government surveillance.

Specifically, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer wrote in a blog post that the company will encrypt all information flowing between data centers by the end of the first quarter in 2014. It will also give users the option to encrypt the flow of all information shared with Yahoo by the same time frame. In addition, Mayer said that the … Read more

Apple to start following you around its stores, report says

There are so many people in Apple stores these days that it's hard to hear conversations or even think straight.

That, perhaps, is one of the small reasons that the company is reported to be implementing its iBeacon system, which is designed to make your shopping experience even more experiential.

iBeacon was slipped onto iOS 7 as a surprise, something that portended the future.

And, as my colleague Roger Cheng experienced, it's already being experimented with by Major League Baseball at the New York Mets' Citi Field. There's certainly the need for a better experience there.

Now, as 9to5Mac reports, … Read more

Creepy Google Glass pics without anyone knowing? Yes, you can

I have come to terms with the notion that we will all soon be wearing glasses in order to surf the Web, check messages, and pretend we work at Google.

Some, though, are still concerned that the glasses offer too much opportunity to photograph or film people surreptitiously.

Defenders of the Google faith point out that no, no, you can tell when the glasses are in use. There's a light that beams to the world.

A twisted few find this unfortunate. They want to be cleverer than thou and more creepy than thou.

May I present, therefore, the very … Read more

Facebook deletes controversial privacy policy language

Facing public pressure, Facebook removed a line from its privacy policy on Friday that related to teen users and advertising.

The line was in reference to Facebook's practice of showing a user's public profile picture, comments, and "likes" with ads. Opponents said the language assumed that minors had previously discussed the terms of the site with their parents or guardians, according to The Wall Street Journal. The issue ultimately landed with the Federal Trade Commission in the form of a complaint.

Facebook argued that the language was not intended to expand its marketing reach.

"We … Read more

Battle brews as tech companies attempt to fend off NSA hacking

The NSA allegedly gathered millions of records from Google and Yahoo data centers around the world, but soon, the agency might have a much harder time trying to collect this type of data.

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, and other prominent technology companies are investing heavily in stronger, 2048-bit encryption. Due to computing power constraints, it's expected to be more than a decade before this type of encryption can be easily overcome.

Google, one of the leaders in the effort, announced in May that it would switch over to 2,048-bit encryption keys by the end of 2013. Yahoo recently … Read more

Dear NSA, there's now a Snapchat for e-mail

Self-destruction is the core value of our current times.

Just as we seek to destroy ourselves with our self-indulgence and our joie de vivre, we seek our private messages to be destroyed before the world's security services read them.

And so along comes a company called PowerInbox to assist us on our path to righteousness.

Seeing, perhaps, that Snapchat, the send-it-and-forget-it messaging app, was rather popular, PowerInbox is offering SecretInk. This delightful concoction claims to have all the properties of Snapchat, but for e-mail (and even SMS).… Read more

Google: We're bombarded by gov't requests on user data

The US government is on a data-gathering spree at Google, new data from the search giant reveals.

Between January and June 2013, the US government issued nearly 11,000 requests to Google asking for user information, or about 42 percent of the global total. India was second with nearly 2,700 government requests.

The collective requests from governments around the world during that six-month period have more than doubled in the three-and-a-half years since Google's first government transparency report, which covered the second half of 2009. "And these numbers," Google said in a blog post Thursday, "… Read more

The private information Facebook now makes public

You may have been one of the many Facebook users contacted by the company last week about the demise of the "Who can look up your Timeline by name" search setting. The Facebook e-mail announcing the discontinuation of the feature goes on to explain how to limit what information you share on the service. Unfortunately, there's no longer a way to limit globally the personal information Facebook shares with everyone; you can do so only for each separate post using the audience selector.

The Facebook Help Center states the following:

"Your name, gender, username, user ID (… Read more

Review: Sticky Password 7

This is a combined review of both Sticky Password (Win, Android, iOS) and Sticky Password Desktop (Win only). Sticky Password supports cloud syncing across multiple devices (Win, iOS, Android) and requires an annual subscription with a free 30-day trial, while Sticky Password Desktop, only supports Windows, and will continue to work past the 30-day trial but limits the number of accounts users can manage to 15.

Pros

Design: Sticky Password has a clean look that will fit in well with the Windows 8 interface. The intuitive layout of the main application allows you to manage your information without having to … Read more

How to opt out of Google's 'smarter caller ID'

Making the rounds today is a report detailing Google's plans to use your verified phone number to display your name and Google+ profile photo as your caller ID. The feature comes as part of Android 4.4 KitKat's smarter caller ID, where it will display business names when a business calls you, should you not have the number stored in your address book.

The plan is to expand beyond businesses and to individuals in early 2014. After the feature is launched, when you call an Android user (running Android 4.4 KitKat) who doesn't have your number … Read more